Food & dining

Recipe for cinnamon-swirl sour-cream coffee cake

Food styling/Sheryl Julian; Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

Makes one large 10-inch cake

This tall, handsome coffee cake will score big pleasure-points at brunch. The cinnamon-scented buttery batter is swirled with curly pockets of cinnamon-brown sugar, which thread through it. Sour cream adds moisture and guarantees its good keeping qualities. Not that there will be much around, once the aromas circulate through the house.


½cup firmly packed light
brown sugar
1tablespoon ground cinnamon
1tablespoon butter, melted and cooled

1. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.


2. Work with your fingers until well blended; set aside.

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Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)
cups flour
½teaspoon baking soda
¼teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon salt
2tablespoons ground cinnamon
1cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
cups granulated sugar
2teaspoons vanilla extract
cups sour cream
Confectioners’ sugar (for

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch tube pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment cut to fit; butter the paper. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon to blend them thoroughly.

3. In an electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat the butter for 3 minutes. Add the granulated sugar in 3 additions, beating for 1 minute after each addition. On medium-low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the vanilla.


4. With the mixer set on low speed, blend in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Spoon a little more than half of the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle it with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Spoon the remaining batter on top and smooth the top.
Using a long metal palette knife or another round-bladed table knife, swirl the mixture with wide curling strokes without touching the sides or bottom of the pan.

6. Bake the cake for 70 to 80 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake is clean when withdrawn. The baked cake will pull away from the sides of the pan.

7. Set the cake on a rack to cool for 30 minutes. Place another cooling rack on top, carefully invert the cake, lift off the pan, discard the paper, and invert the cake right side up onto the rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Lisa Yockelson